Netflix buys rights to Chinese fantasy film ‘The Yin-Yang Master’ ahead of cinema debut

▲A poster of The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity is placed in a cinema in Chongqing on November 17, 2020. Photo: CFP


Global streaming giant Netflix has pinned down the oversea distribution rights for the highly anticipated Chinese costume fantasy film The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity, which was just premiered in Beijing on Wednesday and is set to hit Chinese mainland cinemas on Friday. 

Directed by versatile but controversial Chinese writer and filmmaker Guo Jingming, the fantasy epic was adapted from the popular fantasy novel Onmyōji written by Japanese science fiction and adventure writer Baku Yumemakura. Since its first publication in 1986, the book has given inspiration to countless creative products such as comic books and video games. 

According to Variety, Netflix has acquired the distribution rights for the film outside of China and plans to release it on February 2, 2021. The company will produce more than 20 language versions for audiences in more than 190 countries and regions. 

Featuring popular stars such as Allen Deng (Deng Lun), a popular star with nearly 40 million fans on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo, and Mark Zhao, best known for this role in the 2010 gangster film Monga, the film tells the story of four young Yin-Yang masters who must work together to stop disasters caused by a serpent demon. 

The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity is currently the second-most-anticipated-film on Sina Weibo.

The film was created by a Chinese director based on a Japanese novel; it should come as no surprise that it will exhibit strong Asian aesthetics for international audiences to enjoy. In an interview with Variety earlier in 2020, Guo pointed out that “the story is universal and accessible to anyone.”

In addition to the story’s cultural connections, the production of the film also demonstrates the collaborative efforts of filmmakers in China, Japan and South Korea. Its creative team includes professional Japanese composer Kenji Kawai, who created the original soundtrack for Ghost in the Shell; Creative Party, a first-class VFX studio from South Korea; and Chinese production designer Tu Nan. 

The film’s fine details deliver visual aesthetics that show the spirit of Chinese traditional culture. Various sets constructed by China’s top visual production teams depict romantic and ethereal scenery, while the costumes were made using traditional folk embroidery techniques, which meant each piece of clothing took 10 to 20 days to complete. 

This is not the first Chinese production that Netflix has liked. In recent years, it acquired the distribution rights to romantic film US and Them, 2019 Chinese sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth and the 2018 action-adventure film Animal World. 

“I’m so excited to see Deng Lun and Mark Zhao play opposite each other,” one netizen posted on Sina Weibo. 

“I have never liked Guo Jingming or his films and books, but I have to admit I’m actually quite looking forward to this film after I saw the posters,” posted another. 

Global Times

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